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Robot could be used to scout or send stranded climbers supplies

While it weighs just a little over a kilogram (~2.2 lb), the newly minted wall-climbing robot exhibits Spiderman-like strength, hauling a load of 7 kilograms (15.4 lb) up steep surfaces.  

Created by researchers at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich) -- known abroad as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology -- the climber bucks the trend of past designs that used gecko-like high-surface-area attractions (via tiny synthetic hair-like setae) to stick to the wall.  Instead, the robot uses a unique tacky adhesive.

The adhesive is heated by resistors to melt, with a melting temperature of 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit).  Beyond that point it becomes a liquid, but remains tacky.  The tacky adhesive penetrates cracks and crevices, fixing the robot to the surface.  But when allowed to cool it recedes, freeing the robot foot to take another step.

The resulting climber has tremendous potential for use in mountain or mining rescue operations, either carrying imaging and audio equipment to hunt for lost hikers, or transporting supplies to hikers in difficult to reach areas.  Larger models with improved adhesives could eventually be used to haul down hikers off the cliff face, but even in its current form the bot has a lot of promise.

The robot could also see use hauling light materials in high rise construction, having been tested on wood, plastic, stone and aluminum.

Liyu Wang, one of the robot's designers, told New Scientist, "Our technology uses thermoplastic adhesives, which are much stronger than those used in gecko-type climbing systems.  We are thinking about using this to climb cliffs or other complex natural environments, which no previous climbing technologies can handle."

A paper on the bot was published last month in the peer-reviewed journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Sources: IEEE Transactions on Robotics, New Scientist

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RE: what about power?
By HostileEffect on 5/10/2013 2:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
Very few people do things by "for the good of all mankind", Star Trek-ish system. I personally want to get into a college or university and get into a computer related field and even though my reasons go beyond money, I still need to be paid for my efforts when I get a better job than the one I have now.

Yes, we have some pretty ridiculous and promising technologies but if its too expensive then it won't sell and you go out of business. If your going to bring up the old government / society feeds, houses, and provides for someone based on what someone else or society thinks the job is worth, well, that simply doesn't fly in reality. Unless you re-engineer humans to behave even more like cattle then it simply won't work by human nature. I know you didn't bring this up but you mentioned that we are sill using a monetary based system and I decided to throw it out there. A monetary system without the backing of physical assets does suck indeed.

The best tech can still be had if you want to pay for it, its just not mass produced because the market isn't there. In a hypothetical future, even if one of these rescue bots was made and worked great, it would cost a nice sum. I would very likely risk my health going up a mountain or into a hazardous environment for even a fraction of this bots cost and it is likely other able bodies will be hired for these kinds of jobs before more expensive robots are bought, but thats just my thinking.

If I make no sense its because I'm dead tired again, woke up at 0330, going to bed now at 2022.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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